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Choosing A Cape Town Short Term Rental Agency: When ‘No Pampering’ Clashes with Profit!

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When ‘No Pampering’ Clashes with Profit: A Homeowner’s Journey with Cape Town Short Term Rental Agency CapeHolidays

Searching for a Cape Town Short Term Rental Agency.

While searching for a Cape Town short term rental agency, Jeff (not his real name), the owner of a lovely penthouse in Seapoint, contacted us. We responded immediately.

From the communication below, you’ll read how impressed Steff was, but will the story end positively? Read on.

Let’s share the WhatsApp messages after we receive an email from Steff at 07:50! He asked us to contact him via WhatsApp about our short-term management services. We aimed to be honest and transparent in evaluating Steff as an owner and the property.

[My, after the fact, comments are in brackets.].

[Introduction: Searching for a Cape Town Short Term Rental Agency.]

2024/02/19, 07:58 – Johan Horak:

Hi Steff,

Thanks for your interest in CapeHolidays Airbnb management services.

Let me know your requirements and expectations. Do you have any photos? Or do you have a link to show your property on Airbnb? Is it a one- or two-bedroom place?

2024/02/19, 08:12 – Steff:

Good Morning,

Thank you for your quick reply.

I don’t have much expectations. [Odd] Just need a reliable management company to run the place at reasonable condiciones. The apartment is currently being renovated.

It’s 2 bedroom 2 bath with shower. The upper level will function as lounge area and will only have a sleeper couch. I will rent it out to a couple (maybe with one child or another guest).

It has not been on Airbnb yet. I will be here until March. You could have a look if you like.

[Why Limit Occupancy?]

2024/02/19, 08:16 – Johan Horak:

Thank you, Steff. So it can sleep 3 max? Two adults and a kid?

When will the renovations be complete?

2024/02/19, 08:17 – Steff:

yes 3 max

I hope the renovation will be completed in 3 weeks.

Cape Town Short Term Rental Agency.

2024/02/19, 08:19 – Steff:

That’s my apartment. [the above image is for illustration only.]

2024/02/19, 08:23 – Johan Horak:

It’s beautiful. For obvious rental income reasons, it would be ideal to sleep four adults. The cost to change over stays the same, but the income can be much higher if it can sleep four adults. I’m just saying. [We offer advice, assuming the owner wants to increase revenue.]

2024/02/19, 08:26 – Steff:

Thank you.

I appreciate your advice.

But I use the apartment by myself from time to time and I want a cozy lounge area upstairs.

I think it’s the perfect holiday apartment for a couple. [Odd].

2024/02/19, 08:28 – Johan Horak:

Make sense [not really]. Then, getting a proper, high-quality sleeper couch will add value.

Vetting Guests And Body Corporate Rules

2024/02/19, 08:28 – Steff:

Airbnb renting is allowed by body corporate, but they are pretty strict with you rules. I’d rather have less bookings [odd], but with good people who pay a little bit more and appreciate the place.

2024/02/19, 08:31 – Steff:

I am impressed how fast you respond 👏

What’s the next step?

Will you send me your terms and conditions? You are invited to take a look at the apartment any time.

2024/02/19, 08:59 – Johan Horak:

[Vetting Guests:] Unfortunately, rates don’t buy you good or bad guests, but vetting guests can make the most impact.

That’s why we only use Airbnb and not There is no way to vet guests. is high risk for hosts.

Despite our strict vetting process, you still get rare instances of poor guest behaviour. [Lowering expectations].

[Corporate Rules:] Apartments are difficult with rules, as we know. Upfront rules must be clear.

I’ll send the terms later. And arrange a viewing after you have read the TC&S.

2024/02/19, 09:06 – Steff:

I personally prefer when I travel. But I wouldn’t mind offering the apartment via Airbnb only.

2024/02/19, 09:07 – Johan Horak: is great for guests but bad for homeowners.

[Our Terms and Conditions]

2024/02/19, 14:17 – Johan Horak:

Hi Steff, here’s the Proforma agreement. There are few things that cannot be changed or modified. Please read and ask questions. If you are happy, we can view it.

2024/02/20, 13:28 – Steff:

I have read it, but honestly I am swamped 😯 Too many facts and numbers…. I need some time to digest it.

2024/02/20, 13:42 – Johan Horak:


[Ask these questions when qualifying your Airbnb agency; read here and here].

The figures should be simple. Let me try. For our services, it’s 20%.

Guests pay the rates to stay plus a once-off changeover fee of R1600 per reservation [based on the size of the property].

We credit you with this amount on your income expense sheet. If we don’t need it all, you get the difference.

We debit from it.

Host meeting guest onsite R400

Dedicated host liaises with guests onsite R250

Cleaning of the apartment R350

Wash linen R300 or less.

Purchase essential R150. If we have enough left, it’s zero.

Unforeseen callouts R350

This means if there are no reservations, you pay nothing.

2024/02/20, 13:47 – Steff:

thank you.

a few questions:

sole mandate only?

you provide linen, towels ect?

20 % my max cost? AibnbFees included?

how often is payout to the owner?

2024/02/20, 13:49 – Johan Horak:

The sole mandate is the only way to achieve it. Without it, it is impossible to market on or Airbnb. The availability calendar must be 100% accurate.

We can rent linen but we prefer the owner to provide it.

2024/02/20, 13:54 – Steff:

I am not sure if you the best, but you are the fastest 🙂

2024/02/20, 13:54 – Johan Horak:

Costs. If guests stay longer and we need more cleaning, the cleaning fee is debited from your account. In 90 to 95% of cases, guests’ changeover fees should cover all. Only during more extended stays will extra cleaning and costs be necessary.

And if there are unforeseen issues with guests who get stuck in the toilet, for example, we must go out.

Best? But you are the fastest!

2024/02/20, 14:00 – Johan Horak:

It depends on how you define the best Airbnb agency. Very few can match our review scores at Airbnb and Google (link to reviews).

If you mean best by being cheap, then yes. We are not the cheapest. With cheap, we cannot help.

At other short-term rental agencies:

  • Who manages guest vetting?
  • Who manages hosts?
  • Who sets up the property?
  • Who manages finances?
  • Who speaks to homeowners?
  • Who looks after rate optimisation? A dynamic pricing tool, staff, or owner?

The owners of the agency or staff?

We are three partners at our boutique Airbnb agency. We have excellent managers for on-site guest interaction and getting 5-star reviews, but we don’t delegate trust or the above responsibilities to staff. I bet very few Superhost Airbnb agencies exist where the owners get’s it done. But we do.

Our model is not based on volume. Because we are small, we are hands-on.

Why are we fast?

You said a few times how responsive we are. We are fast because we are good, but we are not cheap. Owners and guests expect the agent to be responsive.

[Maximise Income]

2024/02/20, 14:35 – Steff:

by the way….I decided to set up another bedroom.

No man cave 😢

2 Bedrooms

2 bathrooms en suit

[See how things are changing. Steff is now looking to increase his income. But is he willing to keep guests happy?]

2024/02/20, 14:37 – Johan Horak:

Well. That could potentially make your investment so much better. 👌

When you treat adults equally, you get rewarded for it. There are very few properties where the bathrooms equal the number of bedrooms. Adults pay to stay; they have reasonably equal bedrooms. Egos pay not to have to pick the short straw.

2024/02/20, 14:41 – Steff:

you always have a smart answer 😏

Steff Seems To Like Us

2024/02/20, 14:42 – Steff:

you convinced me.

When do you want to take a look at the Duplex?

2024/02/20, 14:46 – Johan Horak:

Understood. Thank you for the trust. 🙏✌️

2024/02/27, 13:42 – Johan Horak:

Hi Steffen, all good for 1015 tomorrow?

2024/02/27, 13:47 – Steff:

Hi Johan of course, we are expecting you 🙂

Renovation is almost completed!

See you tomorrow ✌️

2024/02/27, 13:47 – Johan Horak:

Excellent 👌

2024/02/28, 13:35 – Johan Horak:

Hi Steff, Great meeting you and Anya today. Charming place you have. Love it. We look forward to hearing from you once you’ve made a decision.

2024/02/28, 14:38 – Steff:

Thank you for coming.

Very nice talking to you.

2024/03/01, 08:59 – Steff: Morning Johan,

you are very professional 🙂

Haven’t made a decision yet.

I am super busy.

Will get back to you later.

“This Is Not A Luxury Hotel”

Cape Town Short Term Rental Agency.

[Steff’s following comments show a potential red flag. During the viewing, Steff wanted maximum income while limiting costs to improve. A longer-term trusting relationship does not flourish when we start off with unreasonably high expectations].

2024/03/02, 10:46 – Steff:

Hi Johan,

we are still interested.

But I am a little bit concerned that I can’t or don’t want to meet your high requirements.

I am sure that you do everything to make the guest happy and to get a 5 star review.

But I am the owner and I am not willing to pamper [odd[ the guests (2 fans, beach towels, gas stove ect..)

[We suggested beach towels to stop guests from using bathroom towels for the beach. We suggested a gas top stove to cover load shedding (he was going to replace the stove top anyway). Fans to help keep guests happy].

It’s an Holiday Apartement and not a luxury hotel. [ Odd and concerning comment by any owner 😯🤔]

Maybe we can discuss this.

2024/03/02, 11:11 – Johan Horak:

Note. You don’t have to do any of this. We are agents. We care for the owner and, therefore, for guests. Owners want a proper income. But how can we do it without happy guests? You told me a few times how much you wanted to make. If you want a high income, you should ensure guests are happy.

Every 4 years, Airbnb doubles in Cape Town. Your competitors are many.

The only way for you to maximise income is to maximise trust. Trust is created with 5 star reviews. Many 5 star reviews are directly related to increased occupancy. And money. If guests have a choice of all the same but you have 5 star reviews and the other 4 star reviews, then you win.

If you have old beach towels, then they don’t use your bath towels.

You don’t need a gas stove. But it may make you a happier guest during load shedding. [Ask us. We have been there].

You don’t have to buy fans, but irritated guests will not easily share a 5 star review.

Etc. The choice is yours. Our high standards are not high standards. They are ideas to increase your income.

2024/03/02, 11:13 – Steff:

You always have a smart answer 😏

I really appreciate your honesty and wouldn’t mind buying a beach towel.

Again, you are my first choice.

But there is much money and responsibility involved, that’s why I have make the right decision.

It’s acutally harder to decide which Airbnb Manager to pick, than buying the apartment.

I will let you now by Wednesday, okay?

Enjoy the weekend!

2024/03/02, 16:19 – Johan Horak:

👍 👌 No problem. We are happy whichever way you go. We never push. Trust comes first. Not money or volume. 🤝

2024/03/02, 16:20 – Steff: 👍

You Are My Manager

2024/03/07, 07:04 – Steff:

Good morning Johan,

hope you are well.

I have exciting news 😏

YOU and your Nandi are the Airbnb Manager I would like to hire for my Duplex Penthouse 👍

But I haven’t decided yet, how I will rent it out during winter. Either short term lease, or via Airbnb (with you).

From 20th December Airbnb because it’s more profitable.

Tell me what you think.

[Again, we see how Steff’s expectations changed from having no real expectations to having two agents hedging his bet.]


Unfortunately, we had to decline.

Steff was disappointed.

Maximising income on Airbnb requires keeping guests supremely satisfied. While Steff initially seemed open to our advice, his reluctance to “pamper” guests by providing basic amenities like beach towels or backup appliances revealed a mindset misalignment.

As professionals in a Cape Town short-term rental agency, we know blown expectations are a surefire way to tank reviews and undermine profits. Saying “no” to a client goes against every business instinct, but we’d rather turn someone away than jeopardize our hard-earned reputation as a 5-star Superhost.

The journey with Steff was an excellent reminder that choosing the right rental partner hinges on shared philosophies and goals. For homeowners committed to achieving maximum returns through exceptional hospitality standards, CapeHolidays is ready to be your ideal hosting companion. But if cutting corners to save a few bucks outweighs wowing guests, we may not be your dream team.

Being a great Cape Town short-term rental agency isn’t just about having a great listing—it’s about nurturing an experience worth raving about. We’re proud to work with owners who embrace that mindset wholeheartedly. For those who don’t, we’ll chalk it up to “no hard feelings” and wish them the best in finding their perfect hosting fit.

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